Lacaton Vassal

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“We believe in…” Nobel Center competition proposal . Stockholm

Lacaton Vassal . images: © Nobelhuset AB

Structure of discovery
Bringing activities and beings in contact in an evolving space is the double condition under which something occur : the sudden encounter between human society, a unique urban situation and incredible cultural resources. We wish to support the transformations, exchanges, usages and inventions that this convergence will allow.

The site on Blasieholmen offers an exceptional geography combining strong elements: the water, the quays, the Nationalmuseum, as well as a park. Our prime objective is to connect to these different environments and to integrate them into the architecture. Reactivated and solidarised, this tip of land is set to follow its great vocation as a cultural peninsula.
In this way, we wish to make the programming a true project component. The program is not envisaged as a fixed quantitative blueprint, but as one of the most efficient generators of atmosphere, life, usage and identity. We wish to provide a tool that encourages the invention of activities, actions, abundance. To depart from a minimal program whose strict operation will be possible, and to suggest and provide conditions to evolve, to progress with the Nobel Foundation and the city.

The program is to be an icon.
This evolving program will flourish within a versatile, generously-dimensioned structure whose layout, connection and modularity capacities mean that can not only host foreseen spatial situations, but also llows new situations to be imagined. This extremely spacious post-and-beam structure, devoid of solid walls, is a structure for freedom, a creative structure that will incite exchanges and surprises.
Three main groups of programs will be assembled here from bottom to top, from one side to another: an area for temporary and permanent exhibitions; an area for conferences and meetings; an area for celebration and festivities where the Nobel Prizes will be awarded. Through its multiple potential configurations, its transparency, and its double envelope enabling circulation facing the water, the Auditorium will encapsulate the strategy of occupancy and appropriation, comfort and versatility that we wish to implement.
These three program strata are linked and crossed by an ascending park that starts from the Blasieholmen Park and rises up to the waterfront, hanging over the quays. This landscaped pathway replaces the very idea of façades. Rather than screens, these façades take the form of animated public galleries, sometimes covered, insulated or outdoors, playing with the climate, view and light as well as darkness.

Through our explicit aim to promote the dynamics of the content, we wish to accord the greatest possible ambition to the prodigious reserve represented by Nobel culture, whose prizes are the only observable face. We wish to make this unknown world of knowledge, discovery and enterprise, emblematic of the modern era, tangible, available and visible .
The Nobel Center is based on a remarkable and motivating initiative: that of inventing a place that assembles culture, knowledge, values and public usage. The pleasure and mobility that the Nobel Center will offer will turn it into a timeless spot which is habitable and inhabited. A major cultural site that is also convivial, following the footsteps of Lasdun’s National Theatre in London, Hans Scharoun’s National and Library in Berlin, or the Sanaa’s Learning Center in Lausanne.
The Nobel Center project comprises an overall purpose of innovating sustainable solutions, beyond standards and generic solutions. Considering long-term use of this building, we design capable and changeable spaces over time and we integrate the unexpected future evolutions of use which often turn out to be desirable.
Working on the Nobel Center sustainable perspective we want to add an extra something, which goes beyond efficiency, but which might be just a bit of pleasure; something that is more delicate, gentle, welcoming, humane, intelligent, and vividly optimistic.

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